If you're looking to boost testosterone levels, ditch the sketchy pills that advertise online and reach for this herb, which new research has shown can raise levels naturally.

Testosterone, as we learned in 7th grade, is the male sex hormone that regulates sex drive (libido), as well as bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, and strength. Testosterone also plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and sperm count, according to the National Institutes of Health.

As men age, testosterone levels start to decline naturally, which is why almost 40 percent of men 45 and older deal with low testosterone levels. Testosterone can also decline due to weight loss or gain, alcohol overuse, illness or medications.

Common symptoms include depression, low sex drive, loss of muscular strength, erectile dysfunction, difficulties with concentration and memory, fatigue, loss of muscular strength, irritability, loss of body hair, and many other symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

New research shows that a supplement called Tongkat Ali, and also called Long Jack, could naturally raise testosterone levels in men. Long Jack has also been used to treat fevers and bacterial infections. Previous studies have shown that it can help relieve stress and improve body composition but research is limited.

What is Long Jack?

This shrubby tree native to Southeast Asia has many names including Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat Ali, Ali’s Umbrella, and Long Jack. (To keep things from becoming confusing, we will refer to it as Long Jack from here on out.)

This plant is used in traditional medicine for many uses. According to a 2016 review, it has been used for the following conditions:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Malaria
  • Exercise recovery
  • Indigestion and diarrhea
  • Anxiety

Every part of the plant tends to be used to create remedies for certain conditions including its roots, bark, and fruits.

How Long Jack Can Boost Testosterone Levels Naturally

A new 2021 randomized controlled trial found that Long Jack supplementations increased testosterone levels by activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG) and or the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

The HPG axis refers to the combination of the Hypothalamus, Pituitary gland, and Gonadal glands, which all function together. The same goes for the HPA, axis which looks at the Hypothalamus, Pituitary gland, and Adrenal gland. The idea behind the study was to see how Long Jack affected these two axes and whether it works to promote functional testosterone.

In the study, 32 healthy young males received 600 mg per day of either Long Jack or a placebo for two weeks. The results found that those receiving Long Jack had increases in testosterone levels by 14 percent and free testosterone by 34 percent. Total testosterone levels make up the amount of testosterone available in the bloodstream, or the amount of free testosterone that isn’t bound to receptors.

“The raised testosterone level may be due to a greater rate of hormone production via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis,” comments the researchers. “The supplementation of Eurycoma longifolia for two weeks demonstrates steroidogenic effects on young men were dose-related. Consequently, the raised testosterone following Eurycoma longifolia supplementations could benefit muscle and strength gain in young adults.”

Along with testosterone and free testosterone levels, the Long Jack supplementation also increased estradiol by 30 percent after 2 weeks. Estradiol is the predominant form of estrogen, which is considered the female hormone. It’s also an important hormone in males that is needed in order to balance testosterone. It plays a role in libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis.

Annie Eng, CEO of HP Ingredients which supplies the U.S. market with supplemental Long Jack, stated in an interview, “this study is significant in that it is the first to measure hormonal effects in healthy young men. This study may certainly be used as a strong platform for formulating sports supplements for competitive athletes and trainers.”

Other benefits of Long Jack

Due to its ability to improve testosterone levels, previous research has found other benefits of Long Jack from fertility to sexual performance, including helping to lower stress levels.

Fertility and sexual performance

If you’re looking to start a family Long Jack could be a supplement to consider. A 2016 review of both animal and human studies show that supplementing with Long Jack could:

  • Increase semen volumes, sperm count, sperm viability, and sperm motility
  • Enhance erectile function and sexual performance

All of these factors could be key to having improved fertility. According to Mayo Clinic, fertility is improved when semen contains 15 million sperm per milliliter and at least 40 percent of your sperm are moving (motility).

Enhances performance

Ergogenic aids are substances that can help to improve mental and physical performance for those that exercise. One well-known ergogenic aid is anabolic steroids, but they can create serious adverse effects.

Long Jack is a natural, plant-based alternative that could work as an ergogenic aid due to its ability to boost testosterone levels and decrease stress. A 2014 study found that active individuals between the ages of 57 and 72 years old had increased testosterone and boosted muscle strength when supplementing with 400 mg of Long Jack for 5 weeks.

Improved stress levels

Low testosterone can create mood changes and even increased stress levels. According to a 2013 study, participants consumed Long Jack extract for 4 weeks which resulted in improvements in anger, tension, and confusion. It also boosted testosterone levels and lower cortisol (a stress hormone) by 16 percent.

Take note: Just as with any other supplement, check with your doctor before adding a Long Jack to your routine. Although research shows that it can come with many benefits, it’s important to ensure that it won’t interact with any medications or cause unwanted side effects. Plus many studies do not confirm if it is safe to take over a long period of time.

Bottom line: Research behind Long Jack supplements seems to show a beneficial outcome of boosting testosterone levels and relieving symptoms that may come with having low levels. Be sure to discuss adding Long Jack to your daily routine with your doctor before starting it.

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